I think you'll agree that we've had our best festival coverage ever with our NYFF write-ups (thanks to Kurt & Michael for their continued input) but even with the speedy pace of full reviews that we've been hitting, it's all too easy to fall behind. So here are super short notes on films seen recently during the festival and outside of it since we can't get to full reviews yet (or ever probably in some cases). After the ten word reviews I'm adding Oscar Thoughts since all four of these films have golden dreams.
Shame (Steve McQueen)
Fucked up siblings Michael Fassbender & Carey Mulligan self-destruct in New York through sex & despair.
10 WR: Brilliant sense of ghostly city, personal demons. But too obvious. B+ (B?)
Oscar?: Frighteningly committed acting but will voters see it? It'll surely be NC-17
Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo)
A beauty pageant contestant falls prey to drug cartel in escalating war.
10 WR: Easy indulgent nihilism elevated by smart construction and thematic visualizations. B-
Oscar?: The things it does very well are easy to see/love (or overpraise depending on how you see it). Will almost certainly make the pre-nomination finals in Best Foreign Language Film.
P.S. Michael reviewed this one and liked it much more than I did it.
Pina (Wim Wenders)
A performed documentary on Pina Bausch, the late legendary German choreographer.
10 WR: 3D amplifies choreography's spatial genius. Bit noncommittal: Performance? Doc? Decide! B
Oscar?: Unless you count Waltz With Bashir, Oscar's foreign committee has never nominated a documentary. But this one is very very easy to enjoy (the dancing is like heaven) and could be a novelty exception to "rule".
Ides of March (George Clooney)
Clooney adapts the stage play about dirty politics and betrayals of spirit, body, and ideals
10 WR: Involving and handsome but few great scenes. Weird "scene-change" pacing. B
Oscar?: Seems very likely on several fronts but particularly Supporting Actor (Clooney, Giamatti or Hoffman, though?) and score (Desplat's work gets a lot of "air time" if you will.) Though Evan Rachel Wood (major role) and Marisa Tomei (minor role) are both marvelous, Supporting Actress seems less likely for a wide variety of reasons.
Quick takes. Finis! In short it's been a good run of super enjoyable or at least interesting movies lately. Other than that Abduction fluke. Your turn in the comments.